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Dan Ashworth: 'England World Cup semi-final run not going to be a one-off'

Ashworth: 'England WC run not a one-off'
© Reuters
Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth is confident that England's fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Cup will not be a one-off.

Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth has claimed that England's fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Cup is unlikely to be a one-off.

In Russia, the Three Lions reached the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1996, the young team exceeding modest expectations prior to the competition.

Attention has now turned to ensuring that England do not face another long wait to make the latter stages of another competition, but Ashworth believes that the national team's future looks bright.

"History will tell you that teams such as Spain and Germany tend to knock on the door of tournaments before they actually become winners," Ashworth told the Daily Mail.

"In the last three years the men's Under-21s and the women's team have hit four semi-finals. That, backed up with all the success we have had with the development teams [England are Under-17 and Under-20 world champions] makes me believe that this isn't a one-off.

"I believe that we are making good progress but we don't for one minute think that we have solved all the problems because the bottom line is that we haven't won the World Cup. We certainly feel we are moving in the right direction. It's important that we now make sure that this tournament isn't a one-off, that it isn't a false dawn.

"This is a result of what we have been trying to build at St George's Park for the last five or six years. The FA invested heavily in St George's Park and in my view it has been a great investment. It has given us the opportunity to join up the teams, to join up the principles, to join up the philosophies."

England's previous semi-final finish at a World Cup was in 1990.

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Liverpool's English midfielder Steven Gerrard walks by the pitch before the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, Merseyside on May 16, 2015
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